The NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine

Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC)/Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. These cells are characterized by their ability to differentiate along all three germ layers and their ability to replicate indefinitely. Human ESCs were first isolated in 1998. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a type of pluripotent stem cell derived from an adult somatic cell by inducing forced expression of specific genes. iPSCs are similar to ESCs, in many aspects, including gene expression profiles and differentiation potential, but much work remains to fully understand the relationship between ESCs and iPSCs. For more information, visit

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This page was last modified on October 18, 2012